The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is expanding its diversity and inclusivity efforts, seeking insights and data about the PPE needs and use for at-risk workers.

On June 24, NIOSH issued a request for information on the “Needs and Challenges in PPE Use for Underserved User Populations.” Information submitted will inform the possible design and execution of activities that consider the needs of US worker populations who are underserved related to PPE use, availability, acceptability, or knowledge.

According to NIOSH, underserved PPE user populations may include, but are not limited to, workers who are:

  • of an atypical size
  • conduct non-traditional worker activities
  • members of a gender, racial, ethnic, or linguistic minority group
  • conduct non-traditional work activities
  • members of sub-disciplines that are not the primary force of the current PPE activities in their current field

A Size That Fits
For many years, PPE manufactures have focused on the diversifying workforce, understanding one size does NOT fit all. ISEA members have taken direction from end users to ensure safety equipment continuously improves with a variety of offerings to suit and fit different populations.

A Greater Focus on At-Risk Populations
The COVID crises exposed the need for a greater focus on ensuring access to PPE for at-risk populations. Throughout the pandemic, it was reported health care facilities and citizens in communities of color and lower-income residents, who are at increased risk of getting COVID, were less likely to have access to the necessary PPE.

ISEA is encouraged by this call for information and looks forward to potential new end user data that can inform future PPE standard setting, helping to ensure the safety all workers.

Make Your Voice Heard
NIOSH is seeking input from individuals and organizations who/that:

  • advocate for these worker populations
  • actively conduct PPE research, services, or policymaking for these worker populations
  • are planning to conduct PPE research, services, or policymaking for these worker populations
  • have direct knowledge about research, service, or policy gaps affecting these worker populations
  • are current or former PPE users that experienced PPE use, availability, accessibility, acceptability, or knowledge issues

Letters of information should be submitted no later than August 23, 2021.

Interested parties should submit information to: NIOSH, Attn: Sherri Diana, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH Docket Office, 1090 Tusculum Avenue, MS C-34, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226-1998, Email address: [email protected].

Read the full call for information in the Federal Register.